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Buick LeSabre Transmission



  • stcalstcal Posts: 2
    edited March 2010
    I have a 2000 Le Sabre custom with 205,000 miles on it. It was bought new by my mother and at 166,000 miles the transmission went out and she had it rebuilt and has had no problems with it. She then bought a new car and for awhile (about 6 months) the Buick sat undriven. I got the car on the road about a week ago. The first few days I had no problems with it. I changed the oil And the car runs good except around the 2nd or 3rd day on take off at a traffic light the car revved up and then jerked into 1st gear. it has been doing this since. It does it about 3-4 times a day. the fluid level is right and it is still reddish in color and doesn't look dirty or burnt. Then the other day it did the same hesitation/jerking into gear while going down the road on level ground, shifting from 2nd into third, and had done that about 3 times. It only seems to have this problem after the car is warmed up. It isn't overheating and runs good otherwise.The computer does have some sort of problem though because the service engine light, ABS, and brake light stays on all the time. These lights have been doing that since the transmission was rebuilt. I called the people that rebuilt the transmission and he told me to add a whole quart of transmission fluid even though it looks full when I check it. It has the 3800 V6 engine in it and I added half a quart of trans. fluid but it still is jerking into 1st and occasionally slips when going from 1-2 or 2-3 gear.It doesn't do this all the time but seems to be getting worse or more often. the transmission rebuild was in 2006 and the rebuilt transmission has around 40,000 miles on it. Does this sound like I just need to change the fluid and filter or does it sound like a sensor problem of some kind? any advice would be appreciated and I know I need to get this problem resolved ASAP, before it ruins transmission plus I'm not working with much money as I am unemployed at the time.Thanks in advance. stcal.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,498
    Your problem is the service engine light and possibly related to the ABS and brake light. Something was done wrong or not hooked up when the transmission was done.

    Get that fixed first. Transmission most likely is not the problem. You can't tell until the engine is running right.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • joshlin1932joshlin1932 Posts: 14
    edited March 2010
    Can you tell me if the transmission, including the torque converter from a 1996 Park Avenue will fit into a 2000 Lesabre. Both have the 3.8 V-8 Engine?

    Same question regarding the catillac converter.
  • the car go fine tell i'm going up a hill i push on the accelerator to keep in speed but it will drop down to 1800 rpm's so it slows to 35 mph and take some time to build up speed again. i'm no machanic.the mechanic at a aamco shop to replace a computer module is going to cost me $2000 to replace it what up on that also where is the module is it attached to the driver side fender?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,498
    Your question is one to which I don't have the answer. But I can help you find an answer, I hope.

    Try searching for and look for your 2000 leSabre transmission. Let is search and come up with the years that it offers as interchangeable. Go through the list and see if any include a 1996 Park Avenue listed as a replacement from a junked vehicle.

    Or go to and search for transmission. I don't know if they deal in large parts or not. Then click on the part number, which will be blue, and a box will pop up with all others that use the same transmission.

    Best would be to consult an expert in replacing them. I have noticed some Bonneville people posting about changing transmissions that fit but have a different gear ratio in the final drive, e.g. Then adapting them is a problem.

    I would ask a transmission shop that does replace transmissions from junkyards and ask what are the possibilities.

    See if any of those work for you. Otherwise email me at my email in my profile (click on my user name and go to my carspace page).

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • You are so nice and such a help. I shall try those things. It sure sounds like one of the has promise. Thanks!
  • 1995 Buick Lesabre 3800
    154,000 miles

    When it sits overnight or for a long time the tranny will not engage until I drop it into 1st. then when it engages in 1st. I put it into reverse or drive and then it works perfect from then on.

    I changed the fluid and filter but it still acts up.

    I'm hoping it's not the converter.

    Thanx, Rick
  • niceride3niceride3 Posts: 17
    I had that happen in my 2003. I thought it was from a cold start and I didn't wait for all of the lights to go out on the dash. You know, that computer stuff, still checking itself out.
    Another time it was after a long drive and we arrived at the motel and putting in reverse the tranny wasn't engaged and revving the engine up revealed a clunk and then the tranny engaged.
    This was after a fluid change. Vehicle has 83K. It happens sporadically. I guess it's hinting of something coming for the future. This line of Buick seems prone to transmission failure.
    Before the fluid change the tranny would shift, sometimes, rough 1st to 2nd. Since the fluid change nice shifting all the time now. Good firm shift.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,498
    edited March 2010
    How many miles did the transmission have on it before the first fluid change you mentioned? I suspect something in the way of sediment or sludging may be affecting a part of the control valves. Someone familiar with the transmission could probably tell you exactly which part based on your symptoms. I can't.

    What fluid did you use for the change? The new Dexron VI is a synthetic or synthetic blend that can be used for the newer transmissions. You might have another fluid change done and see if additional new cleaners in the fluid help cleanup what I suspect may be something restricting a valve from moving. Realize I may be wrong.

    The rough 1-2 shift may be a pressure control module. Some of those seem to not work properly in the 4T65E's lately. Turning the car off and restarting usually changes whatever didn't work right and the shifts are smoother.

    >This line of Buick seems prone to transmission failure.

    The 4-speed transmissions in Buicks have been considered very reliable. I have to disagree with your statement. IF you think they're not, I recommend buying a Honda (they have a history of trans problems, with extended warranties, replacements that fail, etc. See an odyssey transmission discussion for examples of their current problem area).

    Edit. I just realized I didn't ask a relevant question. Did you have the fluid drained and the filter replaced? OR did you have a flush performed where they just connect hoses and pump fluid with a strong cleaner in it through the transmission?

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • Well I bought this car with 125,000 miles on it and had it changed then by a mechanic.

    This last time I did it myself, fluid and filter. I forget what fluid I used.

    I thought it was just cuz it was cold out thats why it was acting up.

    I changed it to be sure and the fluid looked nice not burned or terribly discolored.

    Thanx, Rick
  • stcalstcal Posts: 2
    Yeah, I didn't know that the ABS, brake, and service engine light wasn't on all the time until Mom told me that they weren't staying on all the time until the mechanic at the transmission shop she took it to rebuilt the transmission for $1700.00. Do I need to take it to the Buick dealer or just find a good mechanic? which is hard to find. The gas needle doesn't work either. it says it's full then when it's almost out of gas it will go from full to empty and the low fuel light comes on. I don't know if the people that worked on the transmission messed that up too. Thanks for advice.
  • aj0220aj0220 Posts: 1
    edited April 2010
    I own a 2001 Buick LeSabre with 43,000 miles. I first noticed the transmission would sometimes jump a bit when switching gears at around 25-30 mph. This was a few months ago and it was not an every day problem. A dash light appeared about a month ago after a rain. I took the car to parts store and the employee attached a computer which indicated a Torque Circuit Converter or TCC switch as being a possible problem. I read on another website that the dash light would sometimes go off after drying out from the rain, and it did. Now the car in Drive will run up to about 25 or 30 mph or maybe about 3000 rpms and then the gears will disengage. When a certain speed is reached, the car will stop moving forward as if the car is in neutral, and the tachometer will advance rapidly until I stop depressing the accelerator. The gears will only re-engage when I coast down to about 5 mph or restart from a complete stop. I checked the transmission fluid according to the owner's manual. The fluid level is okay, and the fluid looks light pink on a white paper towel. Could the transmission still be under warranty? The car is in very good condition otherwise. I cringe at the thought of spending $2000 on this. Is there a government website where I can register my problem and see how many others have had similar problems?
  • janquejanque Posts: 2
    sounds like torque converter lock up - tcc . have you local tech. check to see if you are having a tcc soleniod failure - that would cause the jerk at that speed. hope that helps
  • May be two separate problems? or related?
    (1) when coming to a stop, hear a "clunk" sound, like a downshift;
    (2) just before automatic shift to 1st, feels like a vacuum "whoosh".
    Will changing transmission fluid help? Is transmission getting ready to have to be replaced? Thanks for any help.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,498
    Hard to talk about sounds from a distance. Does it sound like the case of the transmission with the motor attached hitting on metal? Motor mount? Transmission mount?

    Does it sound like it's internal to the transmission--then you need to ask an expert.

    Don't understand what you mean "automatic shift to 1st"? Do you mean starting from a dead stop and the transmission is going to shift from 1st to 2nd?

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • I meant like after a red light, and starting to drive again, and about after 10 to 15 mph when car is ready to shift into next gear, so I guess I meant shifting to 2nd.

    The "whoosh" sound doesn't sound like hitting on metal, more like a vacuum line sound.

  • (94-Buick Le Sabre)Three times on the scanner @ 75 a pop..have replaced all the required code codes show and CK engine light is still on..also rough driving /sputtering at 40 mph..What is the problem?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,498
    edited October 2010
    No idea for sure. But, I follow the Bonneville discussions and several have found problems with CPUs on 94 and 95s. They often have multiple codes however...

    The odd thing is no codes but the CEL is on...


    Spark plugs and wires in good shape?
    Either should be giving codes for misfire based on the description you're giving. No codes, thought.

    Do you know anyone with the same car that you can switch computers with?

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • dj1027dj1027 Posts: 1
    Im having the exact same problems with my buick lesabre. Were you able to solve your problem? If yes, what steps or repairs did you have to make to have the car fixed?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,498
    edited January 2011
    How many miles?
    How many times have the fluid and filter been changed in those miles?

    If you are getting a sensation of excess movement in the trans and engine unit, you may have a motor/transmission mount that has gone bad.
    You also might have a problem with a pressure control unit inside.

    It needs to be driven by experts that you trust not to rip you off or sell you extra stuff trying to "guess" at the solution.

    A parts store desk clerk using an electronic reader won't know--theirs don't read transmission codes, if any, in most cases. The one I had on loan from a box store didn't.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • cruz2farcruz2far Posts: 1
    When stopped at light or any other stop, car goes into neutral at times. If you put it in neutral and then back to drive, it will move forward normally. Sometimes it does this 4 or 5 times during a short trip and then acts normal. Once recently, on a hill I stopped and when pushing the gas, the car started to roll backwards and would not go forward but eventually, it moved forward.
    Recently had the system "pressure" removal of all old trans fluid which mechanic said was very dirty. (car has 96,000 and original fluid at that time). Mechanic did not drop pan and replace filter. Need some advice please.
  • 1995 buick lesabre, when i start to drive when it goes to second gear, it feels like it kinda jumps then the whole car vibrates till it shifts again then drives fine, it only happens when i start to drive and when it shifts to second, any ideas
  • I have a 1992 it has 230.000 miles factory everything except battery and brakes!! I know this cause my grandpa bought it new it shifts good runs good looks good its almost 21 a Buick transmission lasts a long time if you take care of it we did the car never been over 80 at 22 my tranny is starting to feel weak but its smooth so my guess is oxygen sensor or tranny sensor ( and being old!!) Anyway its a dependable car its been running everyday fir 20 years I'm afraid the parts are gonna die completely at once real soon LOL ;) my Buick is named the Buick that wont break down
  • I have a 2000 LeSabre that I bought a couple of weeks ago. It has 23K miles on it and looks almost new. The previous owner had the transmission serviced prior to listing the car. It drove fine when we picked it up and does great most of the time. However, sometimes in the morning it shifts hard when I leave our housing addition. It does fine backing out of the driveway but, when I pull out on the highway, it sometimes shifts hard. After we drive it for a while, it is fine and we really don't have any issues. Occasionally it will downshift kind of hard but not very often at all. I checked the fluid level and it was a little low. I added Lucas Transmission Fix to bring the level up to where it is ok on the dipstick. I thought it was doing better but, this morning it shifted hard leaving the addition. I really think it has something to do with sitting over night and the cool temps. Anyway, I am considering taking it back in to my mechanic, having the transmission serviced again but this time, I am going to have him add some Sea Foam additive.

    Any thoughts out there on what might be the problem. I am thinking a sticky valve??
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,498
    What fluid was added when the service was done. I assume the service was a drop pan and change filter and refill with 6 quarts? It wasn't a "flush"?

    I personally would use the Mercon/Dexron fluid of a name brand from Walmart. Some would suggest using the Dexron VI which is more synthetic in nature. I did that and took it out after some months and refilled with the Dexron/Mercon which replaces DexronIII.

    Rather than adding additives, I would let the fresh additives in the new fluid dissolve what it was to free up anything that is being affected by sludging or sediment. I would run about 5000 miles, use the hand pump from Harbor Freight that's on sale for 6.99 at times with coupon or use the 20% off coupons they put out. Suck out 6 quarts through the diptube. Then refill to the mark warm idling with the Dexron/Mercon. And I'd repeat that over and over as long as it doesn't get worse.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • :D It is a 2000 LeSabre with only has 23K miles on it and it runs great and shifts smooth. The only issue I have is in the morning (usually a cool morning) it hesitates when I leave our housing addition. There is no problem leaving our driveway but, when pulling out on the hwy it sometimes hesitates. If I let it warm up and go through the gears before leaving the house, no problem but, if I don't, it will hesitate pulling out on the hwy. There is a bit of a slope at the hwy. The fluid level is in the XXX area and the fluid was just changed about a month ago. I have owned the car for about 2 1/2 weeks. I added some Lucas Transmission Fix about 1 1/2 wks ago.

    I don't think I have a serious problem but, I would like to know if anyone else has had this problem and what they did, if anything, to fix it. :)
  • wheeldealswheeldeals Posts: 5
    edited November 2012
    I had this problem on a 1994 Le Sabre and the transmission failed but it had 89K miles on it. If I were you I would not hesitate taking it to a reliable mechanic. Better safe than sorry. A rebuilt transmission is $1,800 to $2,200 depanding on who you take it to.
  • I appreciate your response. It has been 10 days since my first post. I have driven the buick a lot the last week and a half. I let my vehicles warm up in the morning and that seems to make a big difference for this buick. The problem has gone away. I think it just needed to be driven. The Lucas Transmission Fix seems to have done the trick.

    The car is running great, looks great, and the transmission is working fine.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,498
    I would assume the original transmission fluid, Dexron III, is in there. I assume there is some sediment or sludge giving some stickiness. I don't like additives unless it's a do or die effort.

    If it were mine, I'd buy some Dexron/Mercon at Walmart, any major brand, and suction out the six quarts of fluid through the dipstick with a hand pump from Harbor Freight. Then replace the six quarts with the same fluid as original. This would take out half of whatever the Trans Fix dissolved and half o the Trans Fix. It would put in fresh additives in the fresh Dexron III fluid you put in. I'd drive it 5000 miles or more and then drop pan, and change filter, and refill with 6 quarts. You'd have only about 1/4 of the original fluid left in the transmission.

    I would not use the Dexron VI fluids.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • sounds like your car may have a carbon build up in the throttle body .take off and see ..that causes those problems of going into second engine is trying to stay alive so it idles ..also check your EGR sensor and egr tube does not sound like transmission...
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